POLITICS
09/05/2019 6:24 PM IST | Updated 12/05/2019 8:00 AM IST

Will Pragya Thakur Beat Digvijaya Singh in BJP Bastion Bhopal?

The terror-accused BJP candidate has been making a series of communal, unscientific and bizarre remarks since her candidacy was announced.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

One of the most closely watched electoral battles in 2019 will be Bhopal, where the BJP has fielded terror-accused Pragya Singh Thakur against the Congress’s Digvijaya Singh.

Thakur was inducted into the party in April and named the party’s candidate from saffron bastion Bhopal, a decision that surprised many, as it was the first instance of a major political party fielding a terror accused. 

The 49-year-old is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in which 6 people were killed.

While Thakur has claimed she got a ‘clean chit’ in the Malegaon case, she had only been discharged by a court on charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 2008 case. She is still facing trial under other criminal provisions including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Thakur was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in April 2017 because she was “suffering from breast cancer” and “unable to walk even without support”, according to Firstpost

She has alleged Digvijaya Singh conspired to falsely implicate her in the Malegaon blast case and called him an “anti-Hindu leader who called Hindus terrorists”.

Thakur’s candidacy came just weeks after Narendra Modi said Congress had coined the term ‘Hindu terror’. He also said, “In the thousand years of history, not a single incident shows an act of Hindu terrorism.”

After Thakur joined BJP, Modi said she was given a ticket as a symbolic answer to those who called Hindu civilisation ‘terrorist’.

Thakur told PTI that Hindutva and development were synonymous.

“I am waging a Dharmyuddh against those who maligned Sanatan Dharma by coming out with the term ‘Bhagwa Aatankawad’ (saffron terror), sent me to jail and tortured me under the garb of law,” she said.

“Those who conspired to malign the Sanatan Dharm — and Hindutva by coining the term ‘saffron terror’ have acted as anti-national. Their act is anti-religious and anti-national,” she charged.

During her campaign, Thakur has been issued EC notices for claiming that former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack because of her “curse” and also for stating that she had participated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

She was also served a notice after the Congress complained that pamphlets in her favour were distributed while she visited temples during the 72-hour ban  imposed on her by the EC.

She has also made a number of unscientific and bizarre statements including that her cancer was cured by cow urine and other cow products.

(With PTI inputs)